|Brandon Harris CB Miami FL|
|Elite athleticism. Has the speed to make up for mistakes. Good ball skills. Willing to help out against the run. Fairly reliable tackler, especially for his size.|
|Undersized. Struggles against bigger receivers. Plays a very soft brand of football; rarely gets physical with receivers and will back off bigger receivers in coverage. Inconsistent. Relies too much on his athleticism; seems to guess a lot and take too many false steps. He’s athletic enough to make up for these mistakes most of the time, but it costs him against the better receivers.|
|Harris is an elite athlete and has all of the raw skills necessary to be a starting cornerback at the next level. However, his lack of size and his inconsistency raises some concerns. The final impression he left as a collegiate player came in Miami’s bowl game in which he was embarrassed by Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd. Harris has 1st-round athleticism, but there are times when he looks like a 4th or 5th round prospect.|
The Ravens have reportedly met with Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews at the scouting combine, following up on a meeting they had at the Senior Bowl.
Inside linebacker isn’t necessarily a top priority for the Ravens but it is a need and Matthews could fill that hole in the 2nd or 3rd round. Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden are both free agents. If they leave the need increases.
Another reason why drafting Matthews makes sense, would be to give him an opportunity to learn behind Ray Lewis. Having Lewis’ eventual replacement learn behind the future Hall of Famer could ease the transition which is inevitably coming in the next year or two.
The Ravens are also scheduled to meet with Brandon Harris, who could be a 1st-round target.
|QB – Jake Locker, Washington|
|Locker is all hype and no substance. He lacks the accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL and he’s going to fall out of the 1st round.|
|RB – Mark Ingram, Alabama|
|Ingram wasn’t even the best running back on his own team this past season. Comparisons to Emmitt Smith are being tossed around, but he reminds me more of Ron Dayne.|
|WR – Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh|
|A gifted athlete with elite size and strength, but just doesn’t play up to his potential.|
|TE – D.J. Williams, Arkansas|
|Athletic, but doesn’t really have a position. Too short to be a star at tight end.|
|OT – Nate Solder, Colorado|
|Suffering (or benefiting, I guess) from the media’s Bruce Campbell syndrome. He’s athletic, but far from a finished product.|
|OG – Mike Pouncey, Florida|
|He’s not his brother. He’s good, but his stock in the media has risen because of his last name.|
|DE – Adrian Clayborn, Iowa|
|After a stellar 2009 he took a step backwards as a senior. There are some concerns about his effort on the field.|
|DT – Marcell Dareus, Alabama|
|He’s never performed at an elite level as a full-time starter – not exactly the résumé of a top-10 pick.|
|OLB – Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue|
|Is he strong enough to play defensive end? Is he athletic enough to play linebacker?|
|ILB – Greg Jones, Michigan State|
|A gifted athlete who consistently falls short of expectations. He benefits from a very weak class for the position.|
|CB – Brandon Harris, Miami FL|
|Fast enough to stick with anyone, but he’s undersized and consistently gets beat by more physical receivers.|
|S – Robert Sands, West Virginia|
|Its easy to be intrigued by his size, but very few have ever played the position effectively at his size.|
At the moment, defensive line looks like their most pressing need. However, that could all change if Champ Bailey decides to leave once free agency opens (if it ever does).
If we ever get to the point where teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents, Bailey would certainly have good reasons to leave Denver. He’ll be 33 in June and has won just one playoff game in his seven years with the Broncos. If he wants to chase a championship, Denver probably isn’t the place to do that.
Bailey’s departure would leave the Broncos with journeyman Andre Goodman and troubled rookie Parrish Cox as their starting cornerbacks. Cox, however, may not even be available for all or part of the 2011 season and beyond, depending on the outcome of his arrest for sexual assault.
Given these potential departures from the Broncos secondary, Patrick Peterson may start to look like the most attractive option in the draft. He compares favorably to Bailey, and is one of the most talented corners to enter the draft in a number of years.
The Broncos may also be swayed toward Peterson due to the depth in this year’s defensive line class. The difference in talent between Peterson and potential early 2nd-round options (Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams) is far greater than the difference between Fairley/Bowers and a player such as Cameron Heyward, who may still be available with the 36th pick.
Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net passed along an interesting rumor in his blog the other day.
According to his sources two of the Cowboys early targets in the draft are cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Brandon Harris.
In order to get Peterson they would need to move up – probably into the top three – which the source acknowledges. Their interest in Harris, however, is somewhat unclear.
For the sake of Cowboys fans, I really hope the source meant they would target him in the 2nd round and not with the 9th overall pick in the draft. Harris is talented, but far too inconsistent. I also question his ability to match up against bigger, more physical receivers. In Miami’s bowl game, Harris looked helpless when matched up against Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd.
That said, I would fully endorse the Cowboys trading up for Peterson or taking Harris in the 2nd round. They need to upgrade the secondary and taking a corner in one of the first two rounds is probably the best way to do so.
You could even make a case that no cornerback was less reliable than Jenkins this past season. According to ProFootballFocus.com Jenkins ranked dead last in the NFL with an average of 11.2 yards allowed per target. Newman wasn’t far behind, allowing 9.3 yards per target – 8th worst in the league.
As we get closer to the draft I suspect rumors surrounding the Cowboys interest in Peterson to heat up. He is a potentially elite cornerback and Jerry Jones is one of the few draft decision makers out there that doesn’t hesitate to take a defensive back early. In his career in Dallas he’s already taken two DBs in the top 10 (Newman and Roy Williams) and two others in the 1st round (Jenkins and Kevin Smith).